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The Gaffetastic Santorum Campaign

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How do you turn an election cycle about the economy into a discussion about contraceptive use and dark rumors of Islamic influence in the White House? You make Rick Santorum a frontrunner, that’s how.

As it turns out, being destroyed in 2006 in his home state has not taught Santorum the ills of half-cocked campaigning.  On Saturday, Santorum explained that Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.” Now, this is a perfectly legitimate point – Black Liberation Theology, which is the theology of Obama’s infamous pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is indeed heresy from a Christian point of view.

But apparently, that’s not what he meant. Today, his spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, appeared on MSNBC to inform the voting public that Obama was an adherent of “a type of theological secularism when it comes to the global warmists in this country. That’s what he was referring to. He was referring to the president’s policies in terms of the radical Islamic policies the president has.” Stewart later called the network to state that she meant “radical environmental policies” rather than “radical environmental policies.”

This is precisely the type of gaffe Santorum’s campaign cannot afford – and it is precisely the gaffe that Santorum’s campaign seems to stumble into whenever possible. The knock on Santorum is that he is a fringe candidate with religious appeal, obsessed with matters of sexual morality and Christian religiosity. Incidents like this do not help his case.


Mitt Romney has made gaffes himself, but those gaffes go to his blue blood credentials, not to religious conflict. And religious conflict is far more polarizing than moneyed background. Santorum needs to get his staff in line, and quickly – and start talking about the ineffectiveness of Obama’s policies and the radicalism of his ideas, rather than the religious nature of those ideas. Both Romney and Santorum seem to be playing directly into Obama’s hands.


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